Lawyers for the suspected former First Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU), Oleksandr Pysaruk, have accused the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) of deliberately delaying an investigation into the refinancing of VAB Bank, whereas the High Anti-Corruption Court (HACC) has upheld the defense’s complaints and overturned the NABU’s resolution as unlawful.

That is according to an HACC ruling dated April 5, 2021.This was reported by Ukrainian News.

The lawyers say NABU has filed 10 identical resolutions to suspend the case to circumvent the provisions on the allowed terms of a pretrial investigation, otherwise the case against their client would have to be closed for lack of any evidence. The HACC handed down the ruling to cancel the resolution of NABU senior detective V.V. Pachevsky (who heads NABU fifth department’s third division of detectives) dated March 10, 2021, on the suspension of the preliminary investigation in the proceedings to provide refinancing to VAB by the NBU.

This is one of the 10 identical resolutions, by which NABU deliberately delays the probe into the case, the lawyers said at the court hearing. Each time, the detective, based on the suspension of proceedings No. 0496, noted that all possible investigative actions had been performed, but no response had been received to the request for international legal assistance dated December 15, 2017, as regards the movement of funds on a PJSC VAB Bank account opened with Austrian Meinl Bank AG.

Meanwhile, in line with Clause 3 of Part 4 of Article 219 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine, the pretrial investigation period shall not exceed 12 months from the date of serving a person with suspicion notice. Because of the said resolutions, the pretrial investigation is being suspended, and the suspects have been prosecuted for more than one year and four months, namely a measure of restraint has been applied to them, their property has been seized and so on. According to Article 280 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine, detectives are required to perform all necessary and possible investigative actions to halt the pretrial investigation. However, NABU has failed to perform such actions. At the same time, the request for international legal assistance dated December 15, 2017, does not concern the available notifications of suspicion at all. Moreover, NABU detectives did not follow up the request for the three years at all, while the Bureau itself was not authorized to make requests for international legal assistance.

In fact, NABU suspended the probe for several days by essentially identical resolutions ten times to gain time limited by law, without evidence to take the case to court. Two of such resolutions have already been overturned by the HACC’s rulings (the resolutions on suspension of the preliminary investigation dated August 5, 2020 and March 10, 2021). So, the NABU case against Oleksandr Pysaruk and businessman Oleh Bakhmatyuk on refinancing VAB Bank is subject to closure due to the expiration of the pretrial investigation period.

The NABU case against Pysaruk and Bakhmatyuk concerns the receipt of the NBU refinancing by VAB Bank. The official conclusions of the examinations, those of the Deposit Guarantee Fund (DGF), and the National Bank’s statements refute the accusations publicly brought by NABU against the former management of the NBU and the former owner of the bank. Noteworthy, the refinancing was used for payments to depositors. For one year and four months, NABU has interrogated Pysaruk only once.